Besides erythritol and sucralose, what other sugar reduction options are there?

Pentadiplandra brazzeana Baillon

The sweet pleasure brought by sugar is irresistible, but health risks such as obesity and metabolic syndrome brought about by high sugar intake are also worrying. On the way to be delicious and healthy, the sugar reduction plan is still being explored.

Sweet Protein - High Intensity Protein Sweetener

The sweet protein Brazzein occurs naturally in the African berry Pentadiplandra brazzeana Baillon

The sweetness protein in natural fruit is a source of sweetness, such as Miraculin (miracle fruit protein), Brazzein (Brazilian sweet protein), Thaumatin (Saumatin), Monellin, Mabinlin, Pentadin, Curculin (curculin) that exist in nature. Protein), Neoculin, etc., the sweetness can reach hundreds of times that of sucrose, and some even reach thousands of times. [1] However, it has not been used on a large scale due to low extraction from natural ingredients, low supply, high price, and aftertaste.

In recent years, food raw material manufacturers have accelerated the R&D and commercialization of sweet protein with the help of fermentation and other technologies, such as Roquette, Amai Protein, Joywell Foods, etc.

Recently, Roquette announced that it has completed the research and development of the sweet protein Brazzein with the biotechnology company BRAIN AG and BRAIN Group's AnalytiCon Discovery. Brazzein is a protein naturally found in the African berry Pentadiplandra brazzeana Baillon, which is 2000 times sweeter than sucrose . At present, the two parties have signed an agreement for large-scale production. It is reported that this protein will be mainly used in beverages. Roquette said it was looking to ramp up production and hoped to bring its sweet protein to market within the next three to four years.

Last year, American food technology company Joywell Foods received US$6.9 million in Series A financing led by Kraft Heinz Venture Capital Fund, and is expected to launch sweet protein in the United States within two years. The company mainly produces sweet proteins with the help of synthetic biology and fermentation technology. Miraculin (miracle fruit protein) is the first sweet protein it has launched. Up to 5500 times that of sucrose [2]. Additionally, Miracle Fruit White can sweeten the taste of sour fruits like lemons and limes. The company said the product can be used in yogurt, beverages and other products. However, since the sweet protein is easily denatured and inactivated at high temperature, the temperature limit of the product used in different food categories is still being tested. [3]

The sugar reduction solution of the Israeli food technology company Amai Protein is also a hyper sweet protein, which is thousands of times sweeter than sucrose. The company uses computational protein design (AI-CPD) and yeast fermentation technology to produce sweet protein, which has 70-100% similarity to sweet protein in nature, and can improve the stability and taste of sweet protein Aftertaste problem.

Sweet taste protein transmits sweet taste signal by binding to sweet taste cell receptor and digested as a protein

According to EIT Food, Amai has established cooperative organizations with PepsiCo, Danone and other companies, and plans to launch safe and sustainable products that can be used in major food and beverages (such as carbonated soft drinks, yogurt, flavored water, etc.), and have obtained approval from the European Food Safety Authority EFSA sweet protein products. [4]

According to Food Navigator, Ocean Spray, an American cranberry food and beverage manufacturer, announced its cooperation with Amai Protein at the end of last year, and will use Amai's hyper sweet protein to reduce the sugar content of cranberry juice by about 40%. [5]

Flavor modification, let you feel a little sweeter

Increasing the perception of sweetness and flavor modification is also a direction of sugar reduction.

Israeli biotechnology company DouxMatok offers a sucrose-based sugar reduction solution that increases sweetness perception by improving the efficiency of sugar delivery to sweet receptors, which the company says can reduce sugar by 40% without compromising taste.

Incredo sugar

As previously reported by FBIF, DouxMatok uses inert mineral particles (silicon dioxide) as the carrier of sugar molecules, which are bound to the silicon dioxide through covalent chemical bonds, so that the sucrose molecules are covered on the silicon dioxide particles. This method can retain the texture of sugar, Sweetness and appearance, the taste experience is sweeter. [7]

Currently, the company has launched its first product, Incredo Sugar, which contains natural cane/beet sugar, and the solution can be applied to products such as biscuits, cakes, candies and chocolates.

The company has previously received investment from companies such as European sugar company Südzucker and raw material supplier DSM. It has recently reached a cooperation with Canadian sugar company Lantic and will enter the North American market this year.

At the FBIF2019 Food and Beverage Innovation Forum, Imad Farhat, Vice President of Firmenich’s Global Taste Innovation Platform, shared the patented product SucroGEM™ (belonging to the TasteGEM series) jointly launched by Firmenich and Senomyx. This product is not a sweetener, but it can amplify Taste receptor cells are sensitive to sweetness and can be used to reduce the sugar content in food and beverages. Imad said in an experiment it was shown that milk with 2% sucrose added with SucroGEM™ was able to achieve the sweetness level of milk with 4% sucrose.

SucroGEM™ can help reduce sugar by 50% in food and beverages. [6] According to the official introduction, this product that amplifies taste perception can be used in combination with sweeteners, and can be added to various products such as protein drinks, yogurt, biscuits, milk substitutes, and baking.

It is also a way to modify the flavor through essence. The flavor experience of a product is composed of smell and taste, and the sense of smell also plays an important role. Therefore, the sweetness of the product can also be affected by adding flavors.

Kerry has launched Tastesense™, a natural sugar reduction technology. The basic principle is to replace part of the sugar with flavor modification essence. According to Kerry, the solution uses bio-fermentation and molecular transformation technologies, such as plant and fruit extraction and purification technology and citrus flavonoids enzyme modification technology, to produce flavor raw materials that meet the standards, and then combine them to produce sugar-reduced flavors to make up for it. Loss of flavor in reduced-sugar foods.

According to reports, this technology can improve after-bitterness, reduce metallic off-flavors brought by high-sugar sweeteners, improve sweetness perception and intensity, and improve product sweetness and taste. It can be applied to beverages, syrups and sauces middle.

In addition, MycoTechnology has also launched ClearTaste, a bitter masking agent extracted from mushrooms. According to reports, ClearTaste can reduce sugar by 25%-50% in products; and together with non-nutritive sweeteners such as aspartame and stevia Using it can mask the bitterness and provide a better taste. [8] However, there is still some controversy about the application of bitter taste masking agents.

Lactase—a solution for reducing sugar in dairy products

Dairy products contain lactose. By adding lactase to decompose lactose into galactose and glucose, it can achieve the effect of natural sweetness without adding sugar, and it is also beneficial to consumers who are lactose intolerant.

In October last year, Firmenich and Novozymes announced their cooperation to launch a natural sugar reduction solution - TasteGEM® SWL containing Saphera® lactase. According to reports, this patent-pending technology can help reduce sugar in yogurt and other dairy products by up to 50% without adding sweeteners.

Novozymes' Saphera® lactase increases the sweetness of the product itself by decomposing lactose, while the aforementioned Firmenich TasteGEM series products can improve the taste perception of sweetness, and the joint use of the two parties can also achieve a synergistic effect.

Last year, Chr. Hansen also officially announced the lactase NOLA® Fit in China. According to reports, this solution can reduce the amount of sugar added in 100g of yogurt by 2g without affecting the sweetness of the finished product. The lactase was also awarded last year Approved by the National Health Commission for new varieties of enzyme preparations for the food industry. DSM has started trial sales of Maxilact Super lactase in Europe. According to reports, the enzyme can shorten the hydrolysis time in addition to sugar reduction, but it is not yet on the market in China.

Lactase can go a step further by converting excess sugar into prebiotics through enzymatic conversion technology. IFF (formerly DuPont Nutrition and Biotechnology) launched a lactase Nurica in 19 years, which is suitable for low-sugar, high-fiber and lactose-free fermented milk products, which can reduce lactose content by up to 35%.

In addition to having the same function as other lactases to break down lactose into glucose and galactose, Nurica can further convert galactose into galacto-oligosaccharides (GOS). According to reports, galacto-oligosaccharide is a prebiotic, which also has the effect of increasing mineral absorption and satiety.

New developments in other sucrose alternatives

In addition, we also found new developments in some other sucrose alternatives.

Cargill last year launched SweetPure M wheat and barley malt syrup, which functions similarly to high-content malt syrup and contains label-friendly ingredients. “SweetPure M, obtained from processing barley malt and wheat starch, is only mildly processed and meets the ISO definition of natural,” said Philippe Chouvy, Cargill’s European sweeteners business development manager.

cereal bars

It is pale yellow in color, less translucent, and has a faint bread-grain odour. This could be the first step in getting consumers accustomed to a less sweet tasting product, and would be ideal for bread and cereal applications. [9]

The commercialization of different sweet ingredients of stevia is also gradually accelerating. Stevia producer SweeGen announced last year and January this year that it will commercialize stevia ® Reb I and Reb N, expanding its natural sweetener product portfolio.

Currently, the Bestevia portfolio includes Rebs B, D, E and M, and now Reb I and Reb N. According to reports, Reb I, a new member of SweeGen's natural sweetener product line, can be applied in products in various fields such as dairy products, beverages, nutrition bars, confectionery and savory foods.

Lindt & Sprüngl has teamed up with Swiss-Ghanaian startup Koa to launch Excellence Cacao Pur chocolate sweetened with cocoa white pulp powder. Made entirely from cocoa pod ingredients, the chocolate contains 82% cocoa beans and 18% cocoa white pulp powder from Koa, with no refined sugar. According to reports, the chocolate product has been sold in limited quantities in Austria, France, Italy and Switzerland since February 22.

We also noticed that Hershey has proposed a "Better for you" snack concept and plans to launch sugar-reduced and sucrose-free chocolates.

Hershey plans to use allulose and tagatose, two rare sugars, to replace sucrose in the future, and has jointly invested in Virginia-based startup Bonumose with the sweetener group ASR to accelerate the company's rare sugar and natural sugar business chemical production.

According to Food Navigator, tagatose is 92% as sweet as sucrose but 38% as caloric as sucrose. It also has low hygroscopicity and is suitable for use in candies, cereals, and dairy products. Allulose also has a sweetness similar to sucrose and lower energy, and in the US FDA guidelines, allulose may not be included in the total sugar content and added sugar content.

Allulose and tagatose are naturally present in fruits, but the content is very rare, and the current biotransformation process will facilitate large-scale production, such as the technology developed by Bonumose by converting maltodextrin directly into allulose Or tagatose. [10]

Lindt & Sprüngli Excellence Cacao Pur chocolate,  A powder made from the white substance surrounding the cocoa beans (cocoa pulp) is used for sweetening

Reference source:

[1] 潜力无限的甜味蛋白,有望成为健康甜味剂下一个市场风口,食研汇,2018年11月5日

[2] Joywell Foods Closes $6.9M Series A Financing Led by Evolv Ventures, PR Newswire, 2020.7.21

[3]Move over stevia Joywell Foods raises 6.9m aims to commercialize sweet proteins in 18-24 months, Food Navigator-usa, 2020.7.22

[4] Sugar- Out, Prote- In: Application of microencapsulated sweet proteins as sugar substitutes,EIT Food

[5] Ocean Spray taps Amai's 'hyper-sweet' protein to cut 40% sugar from cranberry juice, Food Navigator-usa


[7] 3D打印太空牛肉、果汁减糖30%...以色列的创新黑科技如何“搅乱”食品行业?,FBIF食品饮料创新,2020年11月30日


[9] Science of sweet: Formulators roll out new emulsion, texturizing and moisture retention properties in sweeteners, Food Ingredients First, 2021.1.18

[10] Sugar reduction game changer Hershey ASR Group invest in startup paving way for mass market adoption of allulose tagatose